Chapter 7: Parallel Parking

chapter 7


Note:  Practice quizzes are available only for those sections of the manual covering rules of the road (Chapters 4 through 11 and Road Signs).

Parallel parking takes practice and skill, and is part of every road test. You should also know where parking is illegal and what NO PARKING, NO STANDING and NO STOPPING signs mean.


Many motorists consider parallel parking the most difficult part of driving. But practice will teach you how to back up properly and to judge distances and angles. Patience and self confidence will help you master the task.

The following instructions are basic and general. You must adjust parallel parking procedures to the particular situation. Plenty of practice is the only way to learn properly.

  1. Select a space that is large enough for your vehicle on your side of the road. Check your mirrors before stopping, and signal to alert other drivers. Pull up alongside the vehicle in front of the space, leaving about two feet between the other vehicle and yours.
    parking - step 1

  2. Look behind you over both shoulders to make sure you will not interfere with pedestrians or oncoming traffic. Back up slowly, and begin to turn your steering wheel all the way toward the near curb. Look through the rear window, not the rearview mirrors, as you back up. Check to the side and front occasionally to make sure you are clearing the vehicle ahead.
    parking - step 2

  3. When your front wheels are opposite the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead, turn the steering wheel the other way while continuing to back up. Make sure you clear the vehicle ahead. Look back, and stop to avoid bumping the vehicle behind you.
    parking - step 3

  4. Straighten your wheels, and pull forward. Allow room for the vehicles ahead and behind you to get out. In your final parking position, your wheels must be no more than one foot (30 cm) from the curb.parking - step 4


To get closer to the curb, alternately pull forward and back up, turning the steering wheel first toward the curb and then quickly straight again.

After parking, remember that you may not open the door on the road side if it will interfere with traffic.



After you park on a hill, be sure to set your parking brake. Just in case the parking brake fails, turn the wheels so they will keep your vehicle from rolling into traffic.

If there is a curb, turn your steering wheel all the way away from it if you're facing uphill, or all the way toward it if you're facing downhill. If your vehicle starts to roll, the wheels should stop the vehicle at the curb and prevent it from rolling downhill. This method works best where the curb is relatively high. If there is no curb or a very low one, whether you are facing uphill or down, turn your wheels all the way toward the nearest side of the road. If your vehicle does start to roll, it will probably roll away from the street and traffic.



To pull out of a parallel parking space, make sure your wheels are straight, back up to the vehicle behind you, and turn your wheels away from the curb.

Six steps to entering more safely into traffic:

1) Turn your head to look over your right shoulder and check through the backseat rear-window for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and other vehicles that may become a hazard;

2) use your vehicle's interior rearview mirror to help keep an eye on hazards behind your vehicle;

3) signal your intentions to move from your parking space into traffic;

4) check your vehicle's side view mirrors, especially on the driver's side, for approaching vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line skaters, motorcyclists, and other highway users;

5) turn your head to look over your left shoulder out through the backseat rear-window, and begin to slowly drive forward, making sure you can enter traffic without hitting the vehicle parked ahead;

6) again turn your head and look over your left shoulder to re-check through the backseat rear-window, pull out into the traffic lane only when it is safe to do so.



What people generally understand as "parking" is legally divided into three categories: parking, standing and stopping.

A NO PARKING sign means you may stop only temporarily to load or unload merchandise or passengers.

A NO STANDING sign means you may stop only temporarily to load or unload passengers.

A NO STOPPING sign means you may stop only in order to obey a traffic sign, signal or officer, or to avoid conflicts with other vehicles.

Besides posted parking, standing and stopping rules, there are statewide rules not always indicated by signs:

Parking, standing or stopping is not allowed:

  • Within 15 feet (5 m) of a fire hydrant, unless a licensed driver remains in the vehicle to move it in an emergency.

  • On the road side of a parked vehicle ("double parking").

  • On a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

  • In an intersection, unless permitted by signs or parking meters.

  • On railroad tracks.

  • Alongside or opposite road excavations, construction or other obstructions if your vehicle would block traffic.

  • Within 30 feet (10 m) of a pedestrian safety zone, unless another distance is marked.

  • On a bridge or in a tunnel.

Parking or standing is not allowed:

  • In front of a driveway.

  • Within 20 feet (6 m) of a crosswalk at an intersection.

  • Within 30 feet (10 m) of a traffic light, STOP sign or YIELD sign.

  • Within 20 feet (6 m) of a fire station driveway, or within 75 feet (23 m) on the opposite side of the road.

  • Along a curb that has been cut down, lowered or constructed for access to the sidewalk.

In addition, you may not park your vehicle within 50 feet (15 m) of a railroad crossing.



Parking reserved for people with disabilities is not merely a convenience, it is a legal requirement. These special parking spaces for motorists with disabilities ensure safe and equal access to goods and services, access which is taken for granted by most of us. You can help by parking in reserved spaces only if you have a permit or plates for people with disabilities, and only when the person who received the permit or plates is in the vehicle.

It is illegal for any vehicle to park, stop, or stand in a space reserved for the disabled unless it has license plates for the disabled issued by the DMV, a New York State Parking Permit for the Disabled (MV-664) issued by a locality, or a similar plate or permit issued by another state. In addition, the vehicle must actually be in use to transport the disabled person named in the registration or permit. This law applies to spaces reserved and posted by local ordinance on streets and highways, and those set aside by state law in shopping centers that have five or more stores and 20 or more off-street parking spaces available to the public.

It is a misdemeanor to make a false statement or give false information on an application for license plates. Making a false statement or providing misinformation to obtain a parking permit for a person with a disability is punishable by a fine from $250 to $1,000, plus a mandatory surcharge of $30, and potential civil penalties from $250 to $1,000. These penalties apply both to the applicant and to a doctor providing certification.

For more information about reserved parking for the disabled, and how to qualify and apply for a license plate or parking permit, see Parking for People With Disabilities (C-34). This publication is available from the DMV Internet Office, by request from a DMV Call Center, and at any motor vehicle office.

parking for the disabled sign

Reserved spaces should be marked with signs such as the one shown, and also may be designated with pavement markings. Also, do not park in the diagonally-striped spaces next to reserved parking areas. These spaces are needed to enable access by those with wheelchairs and specially-equipped vehicles.

The fines for on-street parking violations are set by localities. Unless a locality sets higher penalties, the fine for a shopping center violation is $50 to $75 for a first offense and $75 to $150 for a second offense within two years in the same locality. A mandatory surcharge of $30 will be added to each penalty.



Before going on to Chapter 8, make sure you can answer these questions:

  • After you have parallel parked, how close to the curb must your vehicle be?

  • May you open a door on the road side of your vehicle if no traffic is coming?

  • Before pulling out of a parking space, what should you do?

  • What does a NO STOPPING sign mean?

  • Can you stop to load or unload passengers at a NO STANDING or NO PARKING sign?

  • May you park on a crosswalk in the middle of a block?


End of Chapter 7: check mark Take the Quiz!

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